IYSSE listed as an “anti-constitutional organisation”: Stop the persecution of opponents of war by Germany’s secret service!

With the Israeli genocide in Gaza, which the German government fully supports, the repression of opponents of war in Germany has taken on new dimensions. Left-wing cultural centres are being closed, demonstrations banned, and peaceful student protests brutally attacked.

A meeting held by the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) at Humboldt University to protest against right-wing and militaristic teaching and defend students who criticize it from right-wing attacks.

The latest report by the Verfassungsschutz (Office for the Protection of the Constitution), as Germany’s domestic secret service is called, was published on Wednesday, June 19. In it, the intelligence agency continues to drive this campaign forward and lays the foundation for the criminalisation of any voice critical of the government’s pro-war policy. At the same time, the secret service is being given more and more powers to take direct action against political opponents.

The Verfassungsschutz has included numerous left-wing organisations in its report. For example, the international BDS campaign, which calls for an economic boycott, the withdrawal of investment capital and the imposition of sanctions against the state of Israel, is listed as a new “suspected case of foreign-related extremism.” The justification? The group, which speaks out against genocide, supposedly violates “the idea of international understanding!”

Even the climate group “Ende Gelände” is categorised for the first time as a “suspected case of left-wing extremism.”

The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE), the youth and student organisation of the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (Socialist Equality Party—SGP), is directly included in the report as a “confirmed left-wing extremist and anti-constitutional organisation,” without the intelligence service providing any substantiation for this conclusion. It merely states that the IYSSE is “represented in student parliaments at several German universities,” and that it shares the “ideological and strategic orientation of the SGP.”

The IYSSE does indeed participate in student parliaments and its influence is growing. On the day the report was published, it won 7.7 percent of the vote in the elections to the Student Parliament of Berlin’s Humboldt University, more than the student organisations of the Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Liberal Democrats (FDP), for example. Thus, the 7.7 percent of student voters who cast a ballot for the IYSSE are summarily declared enemies of the Constitution and left-wing extremists by the Verfassungsschutz.

The actual reason is that the IYSSE has opposed the government’s pro-war policy from the start. The IYSSE has been fighting for 10 years against the university being turned into a centre for right-wing and militaristic ideology. It placed the fight against the NATO war in Ukraine, the genocide in Gaza and the violence against critical students at the centre of its election campaign and declared in leaflets and at events that a socialist perspective is necessary to prevent the catastrophe of world war. That is why the IYSSE received the votes of hundreds of students.

This is precisely what the German state wants to ban. Those in power are very aware that their pro-war policy is widely rejected by working people and they are therefore resorting more and more openly to the methods of dictatorship. As early as 2018, the Verfassungsschutz included the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei in its report and defamed it as “left-wing extremist” because it fights “against supposed nationalism, imperialism and militarism.” The Federal Interior Ministry later declared that the SGP was extremist because it fought for a “democratic, egalitarian and socialist society.”

The latest report states that the SGP is anti-constitutional because it is based on “Marxist class thinking that is incompatible with the Constitution.” It is therefore, according to the Verfassungsschutz, not the glaring social inequality that undermines democracy, but the exposure of these class antagonisms!

After the Administrative Court and the Higher Administrative Court of Berlin agreed with this scandalous argument, the SGP in June 2022 lodged an appeal with the Federal Constitutional Court (Supreme Court). In its statement, the party warned of the development of dictatorship if the Verfassungsschutz were to prevail. “Every workers’ strike, every protest against rearmament and every demonstration against the right wing could be banned as anti-constitutional,” we warned.

This process is already well advanced. In recent months, the right to demonstrate has been effectively abolished through countless bans and restrictions, a number of cultural institutions have had their premises and funding withdrawn, and peaceful demonstrators have been brutally attacked by the police. All of this has taken place under the cover of a propaganda campaign against alleged “antisemitism” that declares any criticism of the German government’s genocidal policies to be antisemitic. This campaign is further promoted by the Verfassungsschutz report.

For example, the report describes the breakout of Palestinian fighters from the Gaza open-air prison on 7 October as an “unprecedented massacre of Israeli men, women and children,” while it glorifies the proven genocide against the Palestinians by the Israeli army as a “subsequent Israeli military offensive against terrorist structures.” Anyone who does not agree with this mendacious justification of genocide is summarily accused of “anti-Israeli and antisemitic agitation.” According to the report, this is the connecting element between right-wing and left-wing extremism.

Anyone who declares that “the Palestinians [must] oppose the ‘imperialism’ of Western states, as they have been oppressed and deprived of their historical, political and material rights” is declared a left-wing extremist without further ado.

Even though even the Verfassungsschutz has to admit that open antisemitism is “largely excluded” in left-wing groups, it simply claims that the “rejection of Zionism as a Jewish national movement and [...] the state of Israel that emerged from it” can be categorised as “antisemitic.” Thus, 79 years after the dissolution of Hitler’s Gestapo, the German secret service declares thousands of Jewish people who spoke out against the Zionist project to be antisemites.

Anyone who questions this approach by the state apparatus is immediately added to the list. It is enough to criticise the dictatorial measures against opponents of the war to be labelled a “left-wing extremist” by the secret service. For example, anyone who “defames lawful state action as ‘repressive’ or ‘police violence’” is allegedly “concerned with delegitimising the democratic state and its institutions.” According to this logic, the resistance fighters in the Third Reich were “lawfully” condemned by the Nazi courts.

The Verfassungsschutz is particularly alarmed by the growing opposition among young people to the NATO war in Ukraine and the genocide in Gaza. These issues have been “regularly misused in an attempt to divert young people’s existing humanitarian commitment into a communist interpretation of resistance to supposed ‘militarism’, ‘imperialism’, ‘colonialism’ and ‘capitalism’,” it declares.

This is unmistakable. In the midst of a brutal genocide for which the German government is partly responsible, the secret service fears that the “humanitarian commitment” of young people—i.e., their rejection of the war—will develop into a conscious opposition to Germany’s pro-war policy and the ruling class.

In the process, the Verfassungsschutz is being given ever greater powers. Being named in the report is no longer simply a matter of being listed for information purposes but is the basis for the direct repression of those concerned.

In November, the Bundestag (federal parliament) passed a law according to which the Verfassungsschutz can pass on its “findings” to law enforcement and other authorities if there is a “concrete danger to particularly important legally protected interests.” These interests include the “concept of international understanding and the peaceful coexistence of peoples.”

If this concept (!) is jeopardised—of which the Verfassungsschutz accuses every critic of the NATO war or the genocide in Gaza—the data is passed on to other state agencies. The law even stipulates that the Verfassungsschutz may, under certain circumstances, pass this data on to non-governmental organisations, such as landlords or schools. The requirement to separate the police from the secret service, which was written into West Germany’s post-war constitution in light of the experiences with the Gestapo, has thus been completely annulled.

The Berlin Senate (state legislature), made up of the CDU and SPD, is planning to tie all state funding, for example in the cultural sector, to the institution’s adherence to the constitution. Anyone appearing in the Verfassungsschutz report would no longer receive any funding. Members of organisations classified as extremist can already be dismissed from the civil service.

While the Verfassungsschutz, following the Nazis’ Gesinnungsjustiz [justice based on opinions], acts so brutally against left-wing opponents of war—who are not charged with committing any criminal offences, but only with holding socialist convictions—it extends a protective hand to the criminal and terrorist structures of the right-wing extremists.

Even the Verfassungsschutz’s embellished figures indicate a massive increase in bodily harm by right-wing extremists: from 879 in 2022 to 1,016 in 2023, not even taking into account the 149 violent crimes committed by the far-right Reichsbürger (Reich Citizens) because they are excluded from right-wing offences by the Verfassungsschutz.

While every opponent of war must reckon with the aforementioned repression, the fascist Alternative for Germany (AfD) is still only listed as a “suspected case,” and is therefore not monitored by the secret service. The extensive right-wing terrorist networks within the police, intelligence services and Bundeswehr (Armed Forces), which have been uncovered by journalists in recent years, are not mentioned at all in the entire Verfassungsschutz report. In contrast, the report devotes several pages to “left-wing extremist” youths who have attacked or outed right-wing extremist terrorists.

The close collaboration between the Verfassungsschutz and the neo-Nazi National Socialist Underground and other right-wing extremist terrorist organisations is well documented. Hans-Georg Maaßen, who headed the secret service until 2018 and ensured that the SGP became an object of surveillance, openly advocates far-right and antisemitic positions. The current president, Thomas Haldenwang, worked for years as Maaßen’s deputy and continues to pursue his course unabated.

The alliance of the state apparatus with the extreme right against opponents of war and against the left is an international phenomenon that is directly linked to the aggressive pro-war policy of the NATO powers. The German, American and other NATO governments, together with Israel’s extreme right-wing Netanyahu regime, are committing genocide in order to assert their geostrategic interests in the region. In Ukraine, the same powers are working together with antisemites and Nazi worshipers such as the Azov Brigade to defeat Russia militarily.

Volodymyr Zelensky’s puppet regime is using far-right gangs of thugs to combat the growing rejection of the war among the population. Anti-war activist and socialist Bogdan Syrotjuk, who works with the International Committee of the Fourth International, was locked up in a high-security prison in April of this year on absurd charges of supporting Putin, and has been denied legal assistance.

Now the German government wants to create the same conditions in its own country. This policy is backed not only by the government coalition of the SPD, Greens and FDP, but by all the parties in the Bundestag. The CDU has called on the federal government to act in accordance with the report, and the Left Party is also demanding that “action must follow,” for example, demanding that “antisemitism” be outlawed. At the state level, both parties are responsible for similar reports.

The courts have also joined the hunt for opponents of war. Since the Berlin Higher Administrative Court agreed with the criminalisation of the SGP, the Federal Constitutional Court has refused to deal with the party’s complaint for over two years now. The Verfassungsschutz has thus been given carte blanche to continue taking action against opponents of war.

The SGP will not allow this and will oppose this right-wing conspiracy even more resolutely! The Verfassungsschutz, which is riddled with fascistic networks, must be dissolved and the surveillance and suppression of all left-wing and anti-militarist groups must be ended immediately!

We appeal to all those who want to defend democratic rights and counter the right-wing threat to support the SGP’s constitutional complaint. Become active now! Only a broad mobilisation can put a stop to the fundamental attacks on democratic rights and the revival of the Nazis’ anti-socialist laws and Gesinnungsjustiz. Sign our petition on change.org, register as an active supporter, and spread this article among your friends and acquaintances.